Fuel Tank Cleaning: Please, dear god, Take Out Petcock

Sam H /
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So this isn’t a question post as much as an “I’m a dumbsh**” post. I figure I’d post it so that other noobs could learn from it before they tried anything stupid.

I have a peugeot 103 with a vey rusty gas tank. In the past, I’ve used muriatic acid to clean the rust out of tanks, and its always worked great. So I filled up the tank with the stuff but I didn’t remove the petcock

Huge mistake.

The petcock started getting really warm and sizzling, spewing muriatic acid everywhere. So I panicked and turned the petcock on, hoping to drain the acid into a container. This just sped up the chemical reaction and made matters worse. By this time, the entire clutch/variator was coated in acid and the garage was filling up with the gas that the petcock was offgassing. I was coughing pretty bad.

I quickly pushed the moped outside and found a 5 gallon bucket to dump the acid into. Since the gas tank is built in to the frame (horribly dumb design if you ask me) I had to flip the entire moped over. After the muriatic acid was out, I ran and grabbed a hose to spray the moped down.

Now, I’m down a petcock, and no closer to a rust free tank then when I started. Also I tried kicking the moped over and the clutch is slipping too much to grab the engine even when the decomp is engaged, so I’m pretty sure I melted the clutch linings as well. Who knows what else is damaged on the moped.

On top of it all, I probably did serious damage to my lungs.

So moral of story: Take out the petcock and prep when using HCl with a rusty gas tank.

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